Screenshots Tour of Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 Beta

Yes, after six months down the road, it’s time to gear up for the newly born Ubuntu baby again. This time, Ubuntu 9.10, codenamed Karmic Koala, will be officially released on 29th Oct 2009.  We, at MakeTechEasier have not been slacking around. With the release of the 9.10 beta, we have grabbed the LiveCD image, wipe our machines clean and installed the full version onto it. Now, let us present you the screenshots tour (and new features) review of Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 beta.

New boot screen

The first thing that you will notice is the new splash screen. Unlike all previous splash screens that are in black, it comes with a brown gradient and white font color. It definitely looks much polished and refined than all all its previous reincarnations.


New login screen

No fancy stuff here. The login architecture was rewritten to provide a better integration with the system. Despite the simple design, one good thing here is that you don’t to type in your username anymore. Simply click on the respective user entry and type in the password.


New wallpaper

The default wallpaper is a plain mix of brown and orange color. Nothing fanciful here, but I do feel that it looks much more livelier than its previous iteration.


The best part is at the backend (Preferences -> Appearance) where you can choose from a great selection of newly added wallpapers.


One interesting wallpaper is the Cosmos, that is in fact a series of wallpapers packed into one. Once set, it will automatically change itself every 30 minutes, so you won’t be bored with the same old wallpaper.

There is even a link that brings you to the Gnome art to download more wallpapers.

For those who can’t wait for the release, you can also grab the wallpaper here (5.2MB).

New icon themes

A new icon theme – humanity was introduced in Karmic beta.


Existing user who wanted to install this icon theme can do so via the command:

Addition in the System tray

Long time Ubuntu users will notice the new addition in the System tray. The envelope icon now allows you to access your Empathy and all IM chat in real time. It also acts as a non-obstructive notification center for new incoming mails.


On your Profile button where you click to shut down your computer, you can also use it to update your IM status now.


New software – Ubuntu Software Center

There have been a lot of hearsay about the launching of the iPhone style AppStore for Ubuntu. Now, it is finally here – Ubuntu Software Center.


The Software Center is not a replacement of the Add/Remove app and Synaptic Package Manger as both of them are still available in Ubuntu Karmic. It is more of an alternative (a much better one) to those who wanted to install applications the easy way. In my opinion, this is by far the easiest and most informative way to source for a free software and get it running in your system.

When you open the Software Center, you don’t see all the apps. Instead, you will find various categories that the apps are grouped into.


Clicking on any of the category will display a list of apps in that category.


Once you found the app that you are interested in, click on it to go to the info page. Here is where you can find the description of the app and its screenshot. At the bottom is the Install button where you can click and get it install on your system.


Does this make you think of iPhone AppStore?


For those who are crazy about Pidgin, you are going to be disappointed here. Pidgin will no longer be included in Ubuntu Karmic. Instead, it was replaced by Empathy.


Like Pidgin, Empathy supports various network protocols and allows you to login to various IM networks with one interface. Empathy supports text, voice, video, and file transfers over many different protocols, so you can transfer files over XMPP and local networks and also place voice/video call using SIP, XMPP, Google Talk and MSN.

The GUI is similar to Pidgin, so there is little to get used to.


Ubuntu One

We have previously discussed Ubuntu One and how it could possibly become a dominant force in the online storage arena. In Ubuntu Karmic, Ubuntu One is well-integrated into the system so you can skip the installation and use it straight away.

Signing up is almost instant and the Nautilus integration means you can easily access your files/folders from your Nautilus.



Enough about the front end, let take a look at the backend.

New bootloader – GRUB 2

You probably won’t notice this at all, but the software that is used to boot up the OS has been upgraded to version 2.  This means better scripting support, command-line rescue mode, graphical boot as well as boot from ISO files.

GRUB 2 will only be installed for new installation. Existing users who upgrade their system via the Update Manager will continue to use the legacy GRUB bootloader.

Default Ext4 Filesystem

Ext4 filesystem was introduced in Jaunty. In Karmic, it has graduated to become the default filesystem. Like the GRUB 2 bootloader, the ext4 filsystem will only be applied for new installation. Existing users who are still on Ext3 will remain as Ext3 unless you choose to upgrade to Ext 4 manually.

That’s about all to the new features in Ubuntu Karmic beta. The official release will be on 29th Oct 2009. Are you looking forward to it?

Damien Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.


  1. I like the 9.04 splash screen better than the 9.10. The 9.10 has less color and is just plain drab.

    I am disappointed that GRUB2 will not be installed on an upgrade. I guess I will have to install it myself:

    I am wondering on how the upgrade on an existing system from Ext3 to Ext4 can be made someday, and not mess up the existing files.

    I was testing Ubuntu 9.10 Beta on a live CD and I could not get the WiFi to work. I wonder if that is a bug or just something related to the live cd? I hope the 9.10 doesn’t break my WiFi connection.

    Otherwise I think Ubuntu 9.10 is another step in the correct direction.

    1. 9.10 is still in beta, so no doubt there are still bugs that need to be fixed.

      There are some risk involved when upgrading GRUB to GRUB 2 for existing system. The worst scenario is that the computer cannot be boot up, so I guess Canonical won’t want to put that kind of risk to its users. Same for Ext3 to Ext4.

  2. Why can’t they make grub2 work with menu.lst? The new way of modifying what boots up or doesn’t is too complicated. I’m still a beginner in Linux.

    1. I am not sure why the developer didn’t make GRUB 2 work with menu.lst, but to add menu entry in GRUB 2, you have to create a custom file in /etc/grub.d/, then run sudo update-grub

      Yes, I know that this is a more troublesome way, but that is how it works.

  3. GRUB2 uses a grub.cfg file instead of the old menu.lst file. Since it is looking for a different file that is why you cannot use the menu.lst file as GRUB2 does not look for it.

  4. I don’t like the usernames being shown-it makes one less thing for an intruder to have to crack.

    A third gui way to add software without removing either of the others seems like bloat. (Yes, I understand that in a later release the old Add/Remove will probably be removed-but for now it’s just an addition.)

    It seems odd to write “For those who are crazy about Pidgin, you are going to be disappointed here. Pidgin will no longer be included in Ubuntu Karmic.” Will Pidgin not even be in the repositories? Is it really going to make that much difference to Pidgin fans that they’ll be uninstalling Empathy and installing Pidgin?

    1. The Ubuntu software center may seem bloated for the time being, but I am sure that in time to come, it will become a very useful application for beginner.

      Regarding Empathy vs Pidgin issue, personally I feel that there are little differences between the two. The major differences is that Empathy does not support Pidgin’s plugins (as of now), so if you are using Pidgin for your Twitter and Facebook, you are not going to find them in Empathy

  5. Since I use linux mint, I cant wait for the mint adaptation of 9.10
    Always better than the base Ubuntu distro, I have been using mint for a long time.

  6. I’m prefering Mint too. It needs lees fine tuning to my needs than a basic Ubuntu installation needs. I hope that this new Ubuntu has a workaround for network printing since that was very buggy in 8.04 en 9.04.

    If you use a multi boot system with one main Grub in the sda and in every installed partition its own grub sda1 sda2 sda3 etc. What grub version do you need when the system uses the chainloader method of booting from the first Grub into the second?

  7. “On your Profile button where you click to shut down your computer, you can also use it to update your IM status now.”

    This isn’t new, its already in 9.0.4

  8. Nice, looking forward to the release…

    My biggie request is will 9.10 work better on dual screens, my main gripe with Ubuntu at the moment…

  9. Well I don’t really like the Software Center! I personally do not think it is as easy to use as Add/Remove or Synaptic. Also making it look too much like Mint. How can I change Software Center to read Software Centre as it is a British based system. Things like this are a problem for a educationalist, and I am trying to convert schools into using Ubuntu.

  10. I do use 9.10 on a netbook acer one and its great!, fast boot and customized with AWM y some little fix on compiz looks great! and new items and features like ubuntu one make my life easier.

  11. This version looks like Ubuntu will be monetized soon. How long until they include an “apps store” in addition to the free apps? How long until subscribing to “Ubuntu One” is required to access the full functionality of Ubuntu?

    If those things ever happen, I’ll probably jump to Mac.

    I love the way Ubuntu is now. I hope it never significantly changes.

    1. @Cneil: UbuntuOne works just like Dropbox. The free account comes with a 2GB storage space while the premium account gives you 50GB. If 2GB is enough for you, you don’t event have to pay at all to enjoy its full functionality.

  12. This is most definitely the most attractive looking desktop I’ve ever used. Period.
    the GTK aspect of it keeps the themes basic, but with a simple change of colors, fonts, and backgrounds to rival those of OS X, this operating system is by far my favorite to use around. In the two weeks or so I’ve been using Empathy, it’s really grown on me. The simplicity of everything is great. By less, I can keep my head a little better because I’m not being overwhelmed by tons of flashy graphics, fonts, and transparency (there’s a place for it, but seriously… everywhere??).

    My only gripe so far is the lack of grub customization. It’s ugly, and by a few months end I’ll have a list of kernels so long it’d drive anyone insane. Now, it’s still in Beta, but this close to the final release it should be pretty close. We’ll have to see if that’s changed at all.

  13. I upgraded my intrepid 8.10 to koala karmic hoping that the intel graphics issue in jaunty would have been fixed but I had to work around some issues first and finally got my OSX theme working with compiz installed and must say it is working much better graphics-wise. However I had a big problem. I have an Acer 5315 and the core temp was going over 90 and had random shutdowns anytime I used cpu-intensive things. The problem was actually the fan not working and finally did some googling around and found a solution by installing a recompiled alternative kernel version and after I rebooted all went back to normal.

    I think the ubuntu default gnome themes are pretty boring but always welcome a new distro.

  14. I like this new one – and it is faster – but had trouble with shutdown. It would not shutdown and had to use an old work around to get it to shut down properly. Used to freeze during shutdown. Definitely an improvement though..

  15. I upgraded to Krmic and got the sound issue AC97 onboard and when I swap to the Karmic HDD (I dual boot with MINT) My wired connection on any router I install does not connect have to reboot and it will then connect

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